Special Report By Moira Sullivan
The European Film Awards now in its fourth year was held in Paris on December 2. The aim of the pageant is to promote popular European film, rather than only art house cinema. European audiences don't seem to want to see films far from the Hollywood formats and themes. But the undertone to this event is that European films should hold their own against American films. Previews of coming European attractions are part and parcel of the ceremony.
Receiving support from the French film industry as well as the government is important for these awards. Present were Prime Minister of France, Lionel Jospin and EU Commissioner Viviane Reding,. Recently the EU has targeted 400.000,000 EUROS or dollars for the marketing and distribution of European films. Claiming that the Academy Awards has had years to get their act together, this year's pageant was wooden and uneventful.
Claiming that the Academy Awards has had years to get their act together, this year's pageant was wooden and uneventful.
A bone of contention for cinema audiences in Europe is language since most European countries do not speak English. To symbolize PanEuropeanism, a clip of Gerard Depardieu in ,Cyrano de Bergerac was shown, which changed language from one segment to the next.
This year the co-hosts were a Frenchman speaking English (French actor Antoine de Caunes) and an Englishman speaking French (British actor Rupert Everett). Both failed to liven up the awards. De Caunes proclaimed that the Sundance Channel paid more to advertisers than the Superbowl to broadcast the event in the US. Film clips of European films which never quite made it didn’t help such as Heroes in Tyrolwith yodeling sex scenes. Well, you might wonder, the ceremony this year was after all made in France.
Winners this year of the People's Choice awards were: INGVAR E. SIGURDSSON, for Best Actor in Englar Alheimsins (Angels of the Universe), from Iceland for playing a schizophrenic who like his hero Frank Sinatra, did it 'his way'. Best Actress went to BJÖRK in Dancer in the Dark, from (Denmark/Sweden/France) for her portrayal of a Czech immigrant in the US. Best Film also went to Dancer in the Dark. Björk was not present which was no surprise as the actress felt that the editing of the music she composed to fit von Trier's film was mercenary and that she has no aspiration to be an actress. Von Trier who is phobic about traveling was also not present. Other awards went to Agnès Varda from France for Best documentary ES GLANEURS ET LA GLANEUSE (The Gleaners and I) on what people do with garbage. Best Script went to AGNES JAOUI & JEAN-PIERRE BACRI for Le Gout Des Autres (It Takes all Kinds, France about a businessman who falls in love with an actress). VITTORIO STORARO from Spain won the Best cinematographer award Goya En Burdeos (Goya in Bordeaux), a film on the Spanish artist. And best short went to Livia Gyarmathy for her film A MI GOLYANK (Our Stork) form Hungary . Screen International Press awarded best international film to In the Mood for Love, a Hong Kong/ French co-production.
The highlight of the European Film Awards event was the Lifetime Achievement Award give to British actor Richard Harris who chastised the British Film Institute for never acknowledging him. Harris claimed that 'unless you've lived life, you can't perform it'.
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Paris.
© 2000 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 12/00
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